Amstrad Action


GM Chess

Author: GBH
Publisher: Camel Micros
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #38

GM Chess

Chess has been around for a very long time and computer chess for a few hundred years, for while the first chess computer may have beer, mechanical, it was still a computer at heart. Microcomputer chess has been around since just after home micros arrived. There have been many attempts - some good, some indifferent and some plain bad... but there still seems to be an interest in producing more. Occasionally you do get chess games with a gimmick: speech synthesis, 3D displays and now there's one with music that plays throughout the game.

There are seven skills levels to play, ranging from easy to exceptionally difficult. Time between moves increases considerably on higher levels. You can choose from a wide selection of openings for the computer to start with or you can let it pick one at random. One or two people can play or the computer can play against itself.

Options to turn the music off, changes sides, change level and set up the board are included. From the main menu you can also load programs that cover rules, openings, mid game and endgame.

The tune is played throughout the game, except for when the computer is thinking. Sound effects are minimal, but it is a chess game after all. Graphically it's nothing out of the ordinary, with the board viewed from above and colours that can be changed to suit your monitor.

What can you say about a chess program that hasn't been said a million times before? £15 isn't much really, but then it's not the best chess game around. That honour still goes to Colossus Chess 4.0 by CDS (AA 8: a whacking 92%). If you want music while you play, put on a record.

Second Opinion

I can't judge how good this one is at beating the Karpovs and Kasparovs of this world, but at my standard it's reasonably fast. At more advanced levels, however, it's hardly greased lightning.

Want to play chess and can't find a partner? This could be just the job.

Green Screen View

You can alter colours, so no hassle.

First Day Target Score

Beat the computer on level 3.

Verdict

Graphics 47%
P. Easily identifiable pieces.

Sonics 53%
P. A tune in a chess program!

Grab Factor 54%
P. Reasonable introduction to chess.

Staying Power 76%
P. Chess programs never die.
N. On high skill levels the computer may take hours to make a move.

Overall 63%
Appeal limited to chess buffs.

GBH

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